SMC205 - Oct 20

8 Pages

St. Michael's College Courses
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Giulio Silano

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SMC205H1F – Nuns October 20, 2011 Hildegard of Bingen - Relevant to Clairveau - continuity from last week - Music = she was a composer, there are a lot of nifty recordings of her music – we have not seen what she does with music before. Because music is used to describe her visions and in arguing with the bishops about whether her community was right in burying in their cemetery someone who was once excommunicated = nifty argument = addresses what a woman is doing speaking in this way and addressing such issues - The rhetoric is intriguing, of humility, does not hold back blows, by time done writing – she expects Bernard to give her answer: you have authority higher than mine than go ahead and speak - Texts are interesting in what they explain about scholasticism – when did universities start (1100) these women live 40-50 years after formation of these schools which become important in what it means to be a Christian- these schools are primarily for those wanting to pursue what it means to be a Christian in this world, perspective of law, theology, philosophy o These are first Christians dealing with problems of academics – learning is going on and everyone is profiting which is evident by the way and what women are writing o Hildegard claims to know things only because God instils it but she can clearly write, practice rhetoric, has read the books etc. – Just like Bernard (most compelling writer of 12 century) – both beneficiaries of this renewed learning- intellectually on question of music Hildegard is incredibly sophisticated- thus ignore her sayings of not knowing anything – but as a Christian you profess humility, and act that way as if you cast self down while raising self up… Hildegard’s story » As young girl, community subject to male monastery, wanted to form community not subject to male monastery in which she is head (her aims) – when second community formed, she is head. » Why? – All living under rule of Benedict- each having own Abbott – experimenting with th 12 century- whether required, best solution? Or should there be a union among monastic communities and they do not each go to hell… » Texts are polemical – problems with those not living religious lives » We will be in different communities but share Abbott – Hildegard is a story of reform – community of nuns like monks in Benedict framework to be autonomous » Hildegard is clearly someone informed about debates in monastic life and has strong and definite positions- evident in establishing autonomy – regards question of how to approach such issues- monastic life – how to live it well? » History has been mixed now – since Benedict – result Christian life may not be lived well » Monks to be given best example – but what happens? » Essence of Clergy- that they are not even talked about… this is interesting to Silano » Benedict did not expect many monks to become priests –just needed 1 or 2 Question of confession is not what it is today- hardly any community can do without a priest but in the past people thought they could do without because did not think piety formed in such a way Clearly people went to Hildegard- she played same role as monks, people believing she had special experience and in position to illuminate people on their path toward God. This is not tied to confession, but later expected to be connected. The Abbott’s, expected to speak to them every day, same thing expected of Hildegard. These are the great spaces of female autonomy, these spaces where women can pursue and exercise authority. We have examples of a variety of communities, Hildegard (monastic community) – vs. Beguinages communities – northern movement – predecessors of sisters- people should distinguish between nuns and sisters. Because nuns like monks profess vocation, make contemplation with God, things they strive towards vs. sisters who come together around work and live the active life not the content life and in community. Sisters are beginnings of predecessors, they want to live in community, begin with experience of vows, profess their vows of poverty, chastity and obedience but not nuns, they are not living apart from the world, they live in cities. In Germany, Holland – places of production and writing of books- they make living from copies of manuscripts eventual book called Imitation of Christ – if like lay people, live committed community experience while they eventually decide to move from Beguinages to nasturtiums houses. Relate to opus dei again- restabilising urban communities What is the Christian response – Francis in poverty – what is the heart of the matter? How do we pursue the essential? - Like the monks many of these women say they are sad, and progress and spiritual life begins in sadness - They know how to talk about this stuff - They need to address the issues in suiting manner - These women are more like Bernard than anyone else we have seen before… it may be that something is changing. Some historians have argued the individual is invented in the 12 century, we should take such notions with a large grain of salt. We can say Bernard and women do express individual ways of looking at things. Thus Hildegard says not her duty to pick up book and function, her function and vocation is to tell what has happened to her. It can be arrogant but this is the way Francis’ power emerged, the engine for spread of what Francis has to say and problems that arise in connection with such a movement - The church cannot do without experience of charismatic personalities that have direct experience with divine, the church depends on the rhetoric of the saints. Even when they are authentic saints there are those that can be destructive- thus can never exclude, people in classrooms establish - Christian experience emergent in community focused – how is God essential, how do we get there here and now What is essential then to these women? - Visions are important - Burying the nobleman – these men had publicly and seriously offended the Church and thus excommunicated. Excommunication happens because you have been judged, asked to review what you had done… it is the most serious punishment the Church can inflict, it inflicts it to bring one to repentance and salvation. If excommunicated cannot receive sacrament and not buried as Christian when dead. - This noble man gets sick, expresses repentance, given last rites and sacraments, priest justifies penance, burial is important, he is buried in nun cemetery – today cemetery largest source of income for Archdiocese- nuns too counted on burials, as source of support thus nuns can be caught in conflict of interest but Hildegard does not talk about this but is the only reason why he would have been buried, argument made he would be buried beside those to help those holy…. So these are the tensions, nuns angry who knows why - Attention should be drawn to how often these women are ill- and how their claim to authority is grounded in the fact they are ill – the more they have suffered the more holy and the more they have suffered in bed means the more you should listen to them. This is not a claim men would use! – but has been used by women for past 1000 years - Authority comes from weakness – if God makes you weak then your illness and weakness confers authority, on you which you make available to the body of Christ - Shame there is no considerable consideration of gender in the ministry - Silano says what does it mean to be a women in the Church, what form does my prophecy take because I am a woman… - Women limited to charismatic dimension of church and perhaps not institutional – which is significant compared to any other tradition We tend to address questions of gender with resolution and believe we have answers – yet resolutions may only be temporary because people begin with answers and not the questions! Current orthodox of gender may be plagued with controversies on gender In terms of self-knowledge- in trying to know self you may bracket your gender which could be problematic… in terms of the Church- women in ministries is an important question. Hildegard not priest yet engages in ministry  Women priests? Yes or No … any compelling reason why power should be in hands of priest- would terms differ if priest was not one to decide everything, is he not a symbol? – you could ask this if gender was not an issue but gender is an issue…  People can be called to a variety of callings in the church, gender should not be an issue in this variety according to Silano  Consequences of Trinity  Emphasis in troubles of Francis- discussing the son, int
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